New Prague Council considers future of city’s swimming pool

The future of the New Prague Area Swimming Pool was discussed during a Wednesday, Oct. 16, workshop. During talks about the city’s 2014 budget, the New Prague City Council considered what should be done about the pool.

            The pool at 401 Lexington Ave. S, is about 30 years old and is starting to need repairs. Among the ideas talked about were refurbishing the current pool, building a new outdoor one or partnering with the New Prague Area School District and other groups and building an indoor pool.

            On refurbishing the pool, Mayor Chuck Nickolay asked Public Works Manager Glen Sticha what his opinion was on what could be prioritized. Sticha responded, "I wish there was one area that could be singled out, but we can’t do one without doing others."

            The estimated cost for refurbishing the pool is $300,000. Sticha said they could do a package bid, where one company would oversee every aspect of the project.

            Also discussed was scheduling and if the project could be done in the spring before the pool opens for the summer. Sticha said if the weather cooperates it could be done in eight weeks, but added, "Eight weeks seems pretty aggressive to me."

            Mayor Nickolay asked if they refurbished the pool how long would it last? Sticha noted according to industry standards, cities should look at updates for a pool after five to eight years, but pools usually last longer.

            If the city were to build a new pool, the price was estimated between $1-2 million.

            Council member Shawn Ryan suggested the possibility of a water park similar to what Apple Valley has, but on a smaller scale.

            Discussed was whether the city could build the new pool on the land next to the armory, which is north of the current pool. City Administrator Mike Johnson said the city is allowed to use the armory and its property as long as it’s for a community use. He would have to check if a pool would be under that stipulation. (The armory property is owned by the Federal government.)

            Sticha said an ideal situation would be to begin repairs on the pool in the fall, although if they built a new pool, there would be a lot to cover for that project.

            With the current pool, the city and the New Prague Community Education work together. The city maintains the pool and community education staffs it and provides lessons. It was noted a water park would likely not provide an area for swimming lessons. The council discussed whether it should consider an indoor pool, such as a YMCA. For a project that size, the council realized it would need to talk to such groups as the school district, Mayo Clinic Health System and others about partnering and pooling resources.

            The council will continue discussions on the pool at a future meeting.